Believe it or not, I actually have an MMGM for you!!!!! (I know, I'm shocked too!) Sometimes I need a break from writing, so I treated myself to a few hours of reading this weekend. And the book I chose was THE BAD APPLE (Merits of Mischief #1) by T.R. Burns.
Here's how the publisher describes it:
The start of a mischievous new middle-grade series has trouble written all over it.
Twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle is a good kid with a perfect school record—until the day he accidently kills his substitute teacher with an apple.
Seamus is immediately shipped off to a detention facility—only to discover that Kilter Academy is actually a school to mold future Troublemakers, where demerits are awarded as a prize for bad behavior and each student is tasked to pull various pranks on their teachers in order to excel. Initially determined to avoid any more mishaps, Seamus nonetheless inadvertently emerges as a uniquely skilled troublemaker. Together with new friends Lemon and Elinor, he rises to the top of his class while beginning to discover that Kilter Academy has some major secrets and surprises in store...
It's hard to tell from the cover shot, but this book actually has a very unique trim size. It's cut into a square, and I'll admit, when I first saw it I couldn't help thinking, um... why? It definitely made it stand out from the other ARCs in my pile, but it still seemed like a strange choice to me. But now that I've read the book--and seen how the story is every bit as unique as the packaging--it makes perfect sense. (hey, maybe that's even what the publisher is going for!)
The world is sort of a topsy turvy world where bad is good and demerits are the prize (and gold stars the punishment). And in the midst of all that crazy is Seamus Hinkle, a good kid who accidentally did a very bad thing and is now struggling to do what's right in a school that's training him to do wrong.
With a backwards concept like that you might expect the story to feel a bit gimmicky, and lacking in heart. But Seamus is actually an incredibly likable little boy, who managed to make me laugh and ache for him as he struggled to adjust to life at Kilter Academy. Even Lemon--Seamus' pyromaniac roommate--is impossibly endearing.
The fast paced plot is both funny and exciting, and the whirlwind ending leaves you desperate for book 2. It's a quick, fun read full of twists and turns and hilarious debacles, and a great pick for boys or reluctant readers--though I have a feeling many readers will love it.
But don't just take my word for it--see for yourself. THE BAD APPLE isn't scheduled for release until April 24th (mark those calendars!), but one of you will get to read it early because I'm giving away my ARC!!!
To enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific on Saturday, March 31st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, April 1st. I also *recommend* you follow my blog in some form--though it's not required. I just don't have time to email winners, so if you aren't following me how will you know you won? But it's up to you! And International entries are welcome.
If you want more amazing middle grade recommendations, check out these other awesome MMGMs floating around the blogosphere:
- Myrna Foster is recommending BOBBY THE BRAVE. Click HERE to see why she loved it.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)
I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. I'll TRY, but it might not happen. BUT--you are welcome to leave a link to your post in the comments, that way hopefully people will still be able to find it!
**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**